Selfless gestures often inspire me. Humanitarian campaigns and initiatives are needed and appreciated. But small, individual acts of kindness have powerful social change elements that go unnoticed. Noah, a Syrian refugee seeking political asylum in Dallas, Texas, is a great example of how an act of kindness could create profound and positive social change.
Noah is a jeweler. One day, a woman walked into the store where he works with her two children. She wanted to sell a necklace her mother gave her in order to pay some pending bills.
The store’s security cameras capture the video of what happened next. Noah handed an amount of money to the lady, except that he gave her the necklace back, too. He told her it’s a gift.
Moved by his gesture, the woman started to cry and hugged him. The video went viral on social media.
CBS in Dallas-Fort Worth interviewed Noah. He said that he didn’t give much thought to what he had done.
He just grabbed the money and gave it to her. “I feel better and that’s enough. Better than a lot of money. Doesn’t matter what religion you are. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. This is our humanity. Everybody should do that,” Noah said.
I agree, everybody should. Just imagine — what if every single person on earth woke up and, like Noah, came up with creative ways to give?
Noah had fled war-torn Syria only two years ago. Yet despite the nightmare of conflict, killing and destruction he witnessed, his ability to give back with compassion remains heartwarming.
What sort of world could we create through similar simple, yet powerful acts of kindness and generosity?
Giving is at the heart of Islam’s principles and essence. Highlighting the importance of charity and giving, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) explains that giving from one’s possessions, no matter how small, for the sake of helping those in need is a blessing and means of purifying our souls and wealth.
“From a drop of water to gardens of fruit, we must remember that everything in this world is loaned to us for a brief period of time. The true test is the test of giving the given,” the page explains.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills.” (2:261)
In his book I Like Giving: The Transforming Power of a Generous Life, Brad Formsma argues that giving not only impacts those whom we help, but it also has deep effects on the givers. “When we choose to give, we change, and the people around us change. When we move from awareness to action, miracles happen. When we allow giving to be our idea, a world of possibilities opens up before us, and we discover new levels of joy,” Formsma said.
Professional educator and speaker Meladee McCarty wrote her book Acts of Kindness: How to Make a Gentle Difference in hopes of creating a kindness revolution. The book offers more than a 100 uplifting ideas of giving. The point is: giving is good for the heart, soul and body. “Unconditional acts of kindness give us a sense of euphoria, better than alcohol, chocolate or a runner’s hight…An unconditional act of kindness a day keeps the doctor away,” McCarty said.
As Noah said, selfless giving is our humanity. Everybody should do that.